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Discussion Forum

Topic: Finding a healthier alternative to crisco etc...
earthmama 08/01/2010 10:19 AM
Hi I am new here. I have been reading posts and learning but have a few questions. I offered to make my friend's daughter's 4th birthday cake in two weeks. We all maintain organic/healthy lifestyles and avoid sugar trans fats etc... but it's a birthday so there must be birthday cake with frosting. I want to decorate the cake with flowers etc... so I am sure I need a butter cream frosting but it seems like the best recipes recommend using crisco. I would like to avoid crisco if possible. Are their alternatives to crisco that would work? I was wondering about Earth balance shortening but the ingredients make me think it would not hold up in August in NC. I saw the post about the Clear Valley icing shortening. That might be an acceptable possibility is it available to the general public?

So my next thought was a fondant. I have never covered a cake in fondant so I am afraid to try it for someone else's cake. Any thoughts on using the all natural marshmallows sold at whole foods or home made marshmallows? Is rolled fondant terrible hard to use? I can do basic cake decorations with pastry bag and tips, stars, small flowers, etc... Just to give you can idea about my skill level (basic beginner, self taught)

Sorry for all the questions but I am guess I'll have more.
mmumsie 08/01/2010 10:42 AM
All fondant's are made with sugar, regardless on if the marshmallows are homemade or not. I thought avoiding sugar was one of the requirements for this cake?

I would suggest either a whipped cream icing and an all butter icing for the decorations. Good luck in this heat!
earthmama 08/01/2010 11:39 AM
We are not going overboard with the no sugar thing just in general so it is okay for the birthday cake. I just mentioned it so people would get an idea of where we are coming from. I think the crisco shortening was the biggest obstacle.

Yes, the heat is the issue the birthday is in August at a pool.
cakedujour 08/01/2010 11:44 AM
To be honest, I think you might have to cencede a little on the shortening as you are on the sugar. Butter just isn't stable in the heat. Is there an air-conditioned place, or better yet, a refrigerator to keep the cake until it is time to sing Happy Birthday? Out in the sun (or even the shade in the summer heat) simply isn't a good place to keep buttercream. Crisco would help some, high-ratio shortening would be better, but the only realistic chance ofthe cake surviving until you want to eat it is to keep it cool.
earthmama 08/02/2010 5:13 AM
Thank you. If we were to go the shortening route do you have a high ratio one that you recommend and where do I buy it?

Thanks again.
sweetgrandma 08/02/2010 7:57 AM
I thought Crisco removed transfats from their shortening a few years ago. And I also thought the hi ratio shortening contained transfats??

What I'd suggest is using a thin coating of buttercream and then covering the cake with homemade marshmallow fondant. It's good, pretty and contains less fat than a thick coating of bc would.

I think it's pretty much impossible to have a 100% healthy cake! Sometimes we just have to splurge a little, especially on birthdays.
dottiepark 08/02/2010 12:38 PM
Check out the NY Times vegan cupcake recipe. You could do thee simple wholesome cupcakes with a fat-free chocolate glaze, then top it with a standard buttercream or fondant rose. So you get just a little of the "bad" stuff.